If you want a complicated story, go to FiveThirtyEight and play with the variables. Overall, however, the simple picture is clear – Biden has steadily opened the gap, and now is a 90% chance of winning:
The chances of Trump winning in a landslide are <1 in 100. Biden's landslide chances are 29 in 100. If you want a simpler view go to Rodney Tiffin - Presidential countdown. He tabulates the states, giving their electoral college vote, the 2016 result and the 2020 polls as aggregated by FiveThirtyEight on 22 October.
He puts Biden on 232 sure votes, which means he has to pick up another 38 to reach the magic 270. On this basis the states to watch are:
- Michigan with an 8% margin to Biden and 16 votes
- Pennsylvania 7% to Biden with 21 votes
- Wisconsin 7% to Biden with 10 votes
That would give Biden 279 votes. From memory Trump won these three states in 2016 with an aggregate lead of something like 78,000 votes.
Then we could look for:
- Arizona with 3.8% to Biden and 10 votes
- North Carolina with 3.3% to Biden and 15 votes
That would bring Biden up to 304 votes.
Then there is Florida with 3.8% to Biden and 27 votes.
That would make 331 votes in all.
Too close to call are Georgia (5 votes), Iowa (9 votes), Ohio (20 votes) and the big prize of Texas (34 votes).
We heard tonight the Florida counts postal and early votes before the election day and counts fast on the night.
So I reckon if Florida falls to Biden, then odds are Trump is history, but I won’t put a number on it.
Now I have to tell about two pollsters who have a different idea. See ‘People Are Going To Be Shocked’: Return of the ‘Shy’ Trump Voter?
- In 2016, pollsters Arie Kapteyn and Robert Cahaly saw Trump coming. In 2020, they see polls again underestimating his support.
- Kapteyn, a Dutch economist who leads the USC’s Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, oversaw the USC/Los Angeles Times poll that gave Trump a 3-point lead heading into election day—which, Kapteyn notes, was wrong: Clinton won the popular vote by 2 points. Cahaly, a Republican pollster with the Trafalgar Group, had preelection surveys that showed Trump nudging out Clinton in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and North Carolina—all of which he won.
This year, both men believe that polls could again be undercounting Trump’s support. The reason is “shy” Trump voters—people reluctant to share their opinions for fear of being judged. Though the “shy voter” idea is thrown around a lot by both Trump supporters and Democratic skeptics, Kapteyn and Cahaly have specific insights into why, and how, Trump support might be going undetected.
So they ask people indirect questions to suss out their views.
I believe Nate Silver believes the are wrong, so I’ll just wait and see.
The US is now firmly into its third wave of coronavirus.
Meanwhile Trump charges to the line, holding rally after rally:
On the box tonight we were told that thousands had caught the virus through these rallies, and over 700 had died, according to one university. I know we can’t be certain, but what we see is a kind of madness.
Update: Rodney Tiffen has an excellent article The race that stops a planet: Our guide to the big three election-day questions. He looks at how the swing states are counted, and how the count is likely to unfold.
He has a table of the states most up for grabs:
- Among the first to have advanced counts will be North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. If Biden wins two of these he is headed for a strong victory; even one of them will be a good indicator.
He also says:
- the United States is the only established democracy where part of one major party’s strategy is to make it difficult for likely supporters of the other side to vote. One blatant example in this election was the Republican governor of Texas decreeing that there would be only one ballot dropbox per county. This gave the Democratic stronghold of Houston just one for five million people, whereas previously it had eleven.
Please note he said “one major party’s strategy”, not the usual ABC cop-out of “both major parties”.
The Republicans have consistently undermined the democratic process in recent times.
He also says:
- The United States has the most litigious elections in the world and the most politicised courts in the Western world, not a reassuring formula.
Today the AFR re-published an article by Bret Stephens Goodbye principled conservatism worth quoting at length:
If Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court turns out to be the last major act of a one-term Trump presidency, it will be a fitting finale. Republicans, like the Federalist Party of yore, will consolidate power in the judiciary. Apart from that, they will have spent the past four years squandering their reputation, forsaking their principles, and trashing the kind of political culture they once claimed to hold dear.
As victories go, the word Pyrrhic comes to mind.
How did the conservative movement reach this pass? Hemingway’s great line about how one goes bankrupt — “gradually, then suddenly” — seems apt. But the tipping point arrived on a precise date: July 20, 2015. That was the day Rush Limbaugh came to Donald Trump’s political rescue after the developer nearly self-immolated with his remark that John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, refusing early release at the price of gruesome torture, should not be considered a war hero.
“This is a great, great teachable moment here, this whole thing with Trump and McCain,” Limbaugh gushed. Americans, he said, “have not seen an embattled public figure stand up for himself, double down and tell everybody to go to hell.”
Here was a stunning moral inversion. Limbaugh turned public respect for McCain’s wartime record into an act of surrender to political correctness. And he treated Trump’s shamelessness as an expression of moral courage. It set the template for the campaign, and presidency, that followed. Every time Trump lied, broke a promise, humiliated a subordinate, insulted a stranger, bullied an ally, tweeted something vile, said something idiotic, threatened to blow up NATO, and otherwise violated moral, political and institutional norms, his appeal among the Republican base didn’t decline. It rose. As far as they were concerned, he wasn’t embarrassing himself or degrading the country. He was “owning the libs” — hoisting them, as his supporters saw it, on their own petard of priggish propriety.
This form of politics — not as a complement to statecraft, but as the outpouring of resentment — is what has come to define the conservative movement in the age of Trump.
He says conservatives used to admire Edmund Burke, Milton Friedman, Scoop Jackson, Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush. Not anymore. Conservatism has become anti-liberalism:
But anti-liberalism is not conservatism. At its principled best, conservatism holds that liberal ends — the right of the individual to enjoy the maximum degree of freedom compatible with the right of his neighbor to do the same — are best secured by conservative means. Those means are the practices, beliefs and institutions that, for the most part, lie outside the state: stable families, religious communities, voluntary associations, productive businesses, the habits of a free mind. Ultimately, the goal of conservative politics is to produce competent citizens capable of responsible self-government.
Anti-liberalism, by contrast, seeks self-serving ends through illiberal means. The ends are the benefits that accrue from the possession of political power, ethnic dominance, or economic advantage. The means are the demonization of competitors for power and the delegitimization of people, laws, and norms that stand for the ideals of an open society.
If you think it matters little to us, please think again. What we do about climate change in the next four years matters in terms of the future of life on the planet.
I’ve heard that in the big cities of Texas many of the oppressed have been voting early. The Democrats taking Texas would put the monster back in the swamp.